Vancouver Adventures: Our Picks for December 19 to January 1

Win a contest by kissing in public, take a swing dance lesson, ring in the new year at a variety of local events + more

Credit: Yaletown BIA

Kissmas – December 19

This Saturday, the already charming Yaletown district will be transformed into a hub of seasonal romance for the Yaletown Kissmas pop-up event. Hot cocoa, warm cider, giant mistletoe and a KiSS cam sponsored by KiSS Radio will join the neighborhood’s twinkly lights and trendy boutiques for an evening of strongly encouraged PDA. Take a photo with a loved one—kids, pets, families and friends included—under the mistletoe and tag #YaletownKissmas #getaroom for a chance to win an overnight stay at Yaletown’s OPUS Hotel Vancouver and dinner for two at La Pentola. The first 100 kiss-in participants will also earn a Kissmas swag bag full of gift cards to local shops that will help you power through the last of your Christmas shopping.

4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (Kiss-in at 5 p.m.)
Bill Curtis Square, Corner of Mainland and Davie Street (behind Yaletown Roundhouse Canada Line station)

Credit: Yaletown BIA

Swing Lessons and Dancing with Atomic Radio – December 20

Swing your way into the season with Atomic Radio at The Backstage Lounge. Port O Swing Vancouver hosts weekly beginner swing dance lessons at the Granville Island venue and invites you to learn some new moves this weekend just in time for New Year’s Eve. Each class is followed by live music from various local jazz groups, including this week’s Rugcutter Jazz Band, giving dancers the chance to practice or to sit back and relax over a drink.

Doors open 6 p.m., Beginner Swing Lesson 7 p.m.
Backstage Lounge, 1585 Johnston Street

Blues for Christmas – December 20

If you’re sick of Mariah Carey’s Christmas album, turn off your radio and head to the Commodore Ballroom for a night of gloriously bluesy holiday music. Juno award-winning Murray Porter Band fronts a long lineup of talented blues groups that are sure to cure you of the holiday music humbug. All proceeds go to The Drew Burns Commodore Musicians Fund and guests are asked to bring a non-perishable item for The Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society.

7 p.m., $25
Commodore Ballroom, 868 Granville Street

Credit: Ballet BC

The Nutcracker – December 20 to 31

If you haven’t gotten your fix of dancing sugar plums, snowflakes and mice this year, you have a few more chances with these local productions of The Nutcracker. The Royal City Youth Ballet has two remaining shows in the Lower Mainland, while Ballet BC’s annual version runs for three days starting December 29 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Royal City Youth Ballet: December 20at the Centennial Theatre, 2300 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver, 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.; December 21at the Massey Theatre, 735 Eighth Avenue, New Westminster, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Ballet BC: December 29 & 31: 7:30 p.m.; December 30: 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 649 Cambie Street

Heritage Christmas – Now until January 1

The Vancouver Christmas Market may tend to steal the spotlight, but Burnaby’s answer to the annual holiday festival is well worth a visit too. Thousands of lights and decorations greet you at the Burnaby Village Museum, where the streets are filled with eco-sculptures, vintage-themed displays and an interactive bandstand. Live entertainment from choirs, street characters and musicians round out the charming village vibe, while family-friendly activities—including crafts, baking and visits with Santa—ensure there is something for everyone.

Burnaby Village Museum & Carousel, 6501 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby
1 p.m. to 9 p.m. (closed December 24 and 25)

It’s a Wonderful Life – Now until December 26

The classic feel-good holiday story has returned to the Art Club’s Granville Island Stage, where it runs until Boxing Day. The show follows do-gooder George Bailey who starts to lose hope as he faces financial problems, until his guardian angel reminds him that life is wonderful. With an emphasis on family and faith, It’s a Wonderful Life makes a perfect addition to your holiday traditions.

7 p.m., tickets starting at $29
Granville Island Stage, 1585 Johnson Street

Credit: NYE Van

NYE Van 2016 – December 31

For the first time, Vancouver will have an official waterfront New Year’s Eve event. Canada Place will be hosting fireworks over Coal Harbour twice—first at 9 p.m. for young families and again at the stroke of midnight. The midnight show, a staggering 11 minutes synchronized to music, can be best viewed for free from the Vancouver Convention Centre East Plaza or Canada Place Way, however for the ultimate NYE experience, buy your ticket to the CF Pacific Centre Premium Viewing Lounge where you can enjoy a comfortable seat with an unobstructed view, food and beverages including a licensed bar, and private washroom access.

6 p.m., Canada Place Way
Premium Viewing Lounge doors open at 8 p.m.

Credit: Sai Woo

Masquerade Ball at Sai Woo – December 31

Vancouver is often criticized for being too casual, but this NYE, Chinatown’s beloved Sai Woo is hosting a classy night of mystery. Ditch your West Coast denim to ring in the New Year in style at a masquerade ball. With two floors of DJs, canapes and bubbly at midnight, Sai Woo’s party is bound to be the event of the year.

7 p.m. to 2 a.m., $45
158 East Pender Street 

New Year’s Eve at Robson Square – December 31

Bring your family out to Robson Square for a New Year’s Eve of ice skating, crafts, and an early countdown designed for little ones who can’t make it to midnight. A 7:30 p.m. countdown means you can celebrate bringing in 2016 and still stay on your regular bedtime schedule. Even better, the outdoor event is free of charge with skate rentals costing just $4. 

800 Robson Street

Salute to Vienna – January 1

January 1st doesn’t have to be a writeoff this year. Join world-renowned performers for the city’s annual tribute to Viennese music at the stunning Orpheum Theatre. Salute to Vienna is performed in cities across North America on New Year’s Day, and Vancouver’s version—featuring hand-picked European singers, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and beautiful dancers—will help to keep the magic of NYE alive into January. Plus, the afternoon show means you can still sneak off to bed early if you happen to be short on sleep from the night before.

2:30 p.m., Orpheum Theatre, 500-833 Smithe Street